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Samuel Adams Holiday Porter - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Holiday PorterSamuel Adams Holiday Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,155 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,155
Reviews: 1,136
rAvg: 3.72
pDev: 12.63%
Wants: 20
Gots: 51 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American Porter |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: DFN on 10-17-2004)
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Ratings: 2,155 | Reviews: 1,136 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ReDave


3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of the holiday pack.

Pours a very dark brown. With a brownish cream head that actually sticks around for awhile. Nice lace as well.

Toasty [as in toast] aroma.

Tastes like a pretty good porter, not sure what the holiday part is, but this pack had a couple not so Holiday [at least in my view] beers, but that is OK! Some light chocolate, light hops, some nuttiness. Not too bad for pretty cheap beer. Costco had cases for like 18 bucks!!

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2007 04:07:40 | More by ReDave
Photo of BigRedN


4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is near black with the pour producing a 1/2 inch off white head. As some time passes the head fades to a cover over the liquid. Some good lacing down the glass as I consume the beer.

Smell: Big on the malt aromas. Roasted malts, scents of chocolate, some roasted caramel. there does seem to be perhaps a hint of floral hop scent as the beer warms.

Taste: While it does not scream "malt bomb" that is what carries this beer. Nice roasted malts. Very lightly hopped finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, good carbonation giving it a lively feel keeping it from feeling "heavy". Touch prickly on the tongue, yet provides a slick, smooth finish.

Drinkability: Purchased the mix 12 pack with two of these in it. A bit of a shame as I'd like to be able to purchase a 6 of this during the winter months as a winter seasonal-type offering. A very enjoyable beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2007 05:42:28 | More by BigRedN
Photo of jordanmills


3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Comes out black with a lot of thick, brown head. Smells amazing - malt, spices, and alcohol, wow. Tastes more realistic. Thick but lacking in flavor. Got Some dark malt at the bottom, hops up top, but nothing in the middle. It's Nice and thick on the tongue, lasting finish. It's a tad thick to drink many.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2007 01:53:03 | More by jordanmills
Photo of mnesporov

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle with no freshness date to be found.

Appearance: A deep, dark black allowing almost no light through, with a large creamy frothy head.

Smell: Soft full of roast malts and coffee with almost kind of burnt smell to it.

Taste: A great hoppy taste with a kick of roasted malts and dark chocolates and coffee overtures with a subtle bit of dark molasses and sweetness. Also had that distinctive twang that I’ve come to love about Sam Adams

Mouth-Feel: A sizzling mouth with a crispness that I found surprisingly pleasant and a good hoppy finish.

Drink-Ability: Another great one by Sam Adams

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2007 16:21:05 | More by mnesporov
Photo of BeefyMee


4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Okay Sam Adams let me see your porter...

Appearance: A picture perfect pint. Two finger head rose right to the top of the glass without me even trying. Body is an opaque black/brown that turns to ruby red when held up to light. Nice webbing of foam down the side of the glass as i drink.

Smell: Very, very chocolatey. Almost seems like a Rogue Chocolate Stout.

Taste: Gets a little more complex here. Chocolate still remains the dominant flavor but it is accompanied by notes of coffee and burnt caramel. An added sugary sweetness is a pleasant surprise that makes this a hard beer to put down (in the literal sense).

Mouthfeel: Tingly and not quite substantial enough. Seems to be the only point where this beer loses some ground. I could have used some of that velvety Rogueness right here, but overall it's not bad.

Drinkability: Good marks here. I could drink this one all night, which is high praise for such a rich beer. Never gets too cloying and goes down oh so easily.

Beef Notes: Man I wish they made this one year round. Definitely one of the better porters I've had recently. Do not miss this beer if you can find it during the holiday season.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2007 06:44:12 | More by BeefyMee
Photo of rebel1771


4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown with a beautiful reddish tint around the edges of the glass when held to the light. Pours with a big frothy head.

Aromas of chocolate, caramel and candied fruit dominate the nose of this beer.

The flavor of caramel is the first thing you notice with this beer along with a slight bitterness. It finishes with a dry chocolate and candied fruit flavor.

I have to say that I enjoyed this brew quite a bit, in fact I think I'll have a couple more.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2007 01:48:57 | More by rebel1771
Photo of NEhophead


3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a nonic.
Enjoy before 04.2007.

Deep, maple brown in color with underlying shades of coal. Creamy, light brown head that slowly recedes to an intact, bubbly sheet. Webbed lacing with good strength down half of the nonic.

Sweet caramel and pleasant toffee aroma. An inviting, not quite dry nutty profile: hazlenut, peanut, and nutmeg. Slightly sweet hints of vanilla.

Sweet toffee and peanut brittle engulfed by a rich & robust roasted malt character. The sweetness is gaseous with artificial hints of lasting vanilla. A rough bitterness filled with floral hops leads to a dry finish. The aftertaste is of milk chocolate, toffee, and dried hazlenuts.

Full bodied; rich and chewy, but very harsh on the palate due to the aggressive hop presence.

A flavorful American Porter that tastes artificially sweetened at times. Not my favorite version of the style, but I wouldn't mind having another.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2007 00:58:42 | More by NEhophead
Photo of Budlum


3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouring this beer produces one inch of creamy, tan head. The head is retained nicely with a decent collection held on the side of the glass. The body is a relatively heavy shade of black with a lot of red colors visible.

The nose is quite simple yet still a good porter smell. A roasted barley smell leads in to a smooth chocolate and vanilla blend before a touch of hops at the close. This is much sweeter on the nose than many other porters.

A strong, roasted barley flavor leads off this beer and holds for an entire sip. Hops are plentiful throughout and add a very appropriate bitterness to the all around sweetness of this beer. The finish is rich with chocolate and a strong hop taste. This is a very solid porter.

The mouth presence of this beer is lightly carbonated and has an appropriate thickness for the style.

Drinkability is quite good for this porter. It is definitely not a leader for the style but it is just a solid beer that is easy to enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2007 03:53:08 | More by Budlum
Photo of allergictomacros

Ontario (Canada)

3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Medium tan head over dark, dark, dark liquid.

S - Fruity with some espresso notes.

T - Dark, roasted malts and slight tartness. Mild roasted bitterness in the back with a spicy note. Some coffee as well. Pretty much a basic porter.

M - Maybe a touch on the light side.

D - Tasty, but nothing special. I would chalk this up as yet another porter.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2007 03:02:17 | More by allergictomacros
Photo of Westsidethreat


4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a thin, looking chocolaty auburn color. Not as thick as your average porter. Head is nice, decently lumpy raw oatmeal color. Its leaving creamy rings behind after every sip.

S: Berries, caramel, chocolate pudding and a bit of roasted coffee beans.

T: Very caramely with marionberry sweetness. Really is a lot like how it smells. Lot of milk chocoloate flavors swirling around as well with smidgeons of butterscotch and vanilla. Moves towards a buttery coffee taste which gently ramps up then finishes with brown sugar and lingers roasted grains.

M: Medium body, full mouthfeel with a good carbonation.

D: I like this beer. Good flavor, well balanced with just the right amount of bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2007 05:59:55 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of gubbt


3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a small brown head that dissapears quickly.

Aroma is faint with notes of chocolate and burnt caramel.

Taste follows the smell. There is some chocolate at the tip of the tongue that shifts into a deep roasted caramel flavor that seems to be prevalent in a lot of Sam Adams beers. This then transitions into a slightly bitter somewhat sweet finish where the English hops are noticeable. Big malt character overall.

Mouthfeel is a little watery with tame carbonation that provides a very drinkable beer.

This is a nice changeup from the hop bombs I have been drinking and what I have been craving in these winter months: a nice malty, smooth ale. My favorite out of the holiday pack. Bottoms up!

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2007 23:29:17 | More by gubbt
Photo of Procrastinator


3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from holiday 12-pack poured into nonic pint glass. March 2007 best before date on neck band.

Appearance: midnight brown with ruby hues. 2" head after vigorous pour rests into pillowy soft concentrated head with lacing.

Smell: sweet, burnt barley. Bitter coffee.

Taste: semi-sweet, nicely balanced malt sweetness with hop bitterness. Caramel and buttery sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, nice small bubble carbonation. A bit slick on the tongue.

Drinkability: a good drinking beer. Not too harsh with the bitterness
nor too sweet with the malt.

I've had this beer dozens of times thoughout the years. This is a nice well-rounded porter that always leaves me satisfied.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2007 15:50:02 | More by Procrastinator
Photo of plaid75

New York

3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep murky brown hue with a one finger creamy off white head. There was decent retention and good sticky lacing.

The smell featured a sweet caramel malt with hints of chocolate malt and burnt grain.

The taste consisted of a mildly sweet caramel and a solid coffee and burnt grain flavor. Soft cocoa element and floral hop apparent as well. Mild diacetyl.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness with a good dry finish.

Overall a very good porter. Certainly quaffable and recommended.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2006 03:55:12 | More by plaid75
Photo of JimFalzone


4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best beer in the holiday 12-pack. It's a nice smooth porter with hints of toasted malts and carmel. It's a nice rich, dark brown color with a light frothy head. Head retention is not great, but it's somewhat typical of other American porters I have tried. The after taste on your tongue and mouth is sweet and very slightly smokey. (Not as clear as a smoked porter, it's very subtle.) It's definitely a good beer to enjoy while wrapping Christmas presents in front of the fire. And unlike a barleywine, you can comfortable enjoy three or four of them.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2006 04:11:42 | More by JimFalzone
Photo of neenerzig


4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark amber brown color with a tan head that starts out about an inch thick before settling to about 1/4 of an inch. Leaves some nice lacing too. Has sort of roasty, malty aromas of chocolate, caramel, and coffee are dominant along with some spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. Has a somewhat sweet flavors of chocolate and coffee upfront followed by the aforementioned spices. Also has a definite hop presence. Fairly good balance. Has a medium body with light to medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and crisp and the beer is quite easy to drink. A good effort indeed!


Serving type: bottle

12-24-2006 06:34:22 | More by neenerzig
Photo of Drew966


3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Adams Holiday Porter pours a dark brown with a tan head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. There's chocolate and coffee in the aroma. The flavor also has chocolate and coffee notes, but there are strong hop flavors right in the middle. An Americanized porter that is pretty decent. Definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2006 03:16:13 | More by Drew966
Photo of Adamthome1


4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours near perfect black with good head retention. Smells like rich, nutty, and aged just as it should.

Taste is a good mix of roasted nut, chocolate, and a rich consistancy. Bitterness is noted in the aftertaste and I think is about a perfect amount for the category. Very complex flavors coming out on the palate, this immense flavor was unexpected.

Comes in at a hefty 5.9% ABV, but alcohol is not overly noticable. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2006 15:59:14 | More by Adamthome1
Photo of athensbeermaster


2.2/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Well at least this porter replaced the light beer from last year in the sample pack for x-mas! Though this is my least favorite porter I've ever tried. Very small head. The smell reminded me of two day old coffee. The faint hint of chocolate almost made this drinkable.
I like a porter, this one is just a bad example. I'll stick to Fullers,
Anchor,or Carnegie for a great version of a porter.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2006 22:01:01 | More by athensbeermaster
Photo of Neehan

North Carolina

3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured a very dark, near-black with a very thin head, but some lacing and thickness in consistency. The taste of dark, burnt roasted malts with a hint of sweetness. Dominated by the burnt character. The mouthfeel is quite strong with a high, burning carbonation that has a warming effect that is pleasant, but will make you wait between sips.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2006 03:08:35 | More by Neehan
Photo of RustythePelican


3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am probably not adequately versed in porters to give this a review according to the style. However, I know what I like, and I enjoyed this beer. Smell was of cocoa, coffee, and a hint of berries. The taste was lighter and sweeter than I expected, with a mild honey finish. Mouthfeel was also lighter than I expected; this is not a beer that coats the tongue, which makes it a good choice for holiday session drinking. Overall, another nice beer from Boston Beer Co.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2006 14:28:56 | More by RustythePelican
Photo of Saint


4.58/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Amazing. Simply amazing. It has a beautiful and robust grouping of flavors. It is sweetly caramel in flavor, has a yet a nice crisp spice, almost resembling of nutmeg, but best of all is that it finishes out with a smooth chocolaty flavor. The smooth chocolate flavor comes with a fine velvet feel at the end. The beer is stunning, it tastes as though it is significantly more pricey beer then would be featured in a winter variety mix pack.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2006 08:07:07 | More by Saint
Photo of coasterfreak75

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The pour was pitch black with a nice two finger beige head that quickly dissapated and left a very thin ring around the top of the beer. Little or no lacing on the glass.

The smell was quite malty with a mix of cocoa and slight coffee aromas. I was suprised by the strength of the hop aroma mixed in the smell.

The drink starts kind of empty and thin with flavors that are hard to pick up, even as it warms. The middle is a light hop spice followed by a nice malt/coffee finish with just a hint of caramel flavor in the end.

All and all quite a good beer, I was just a little let down by the start of the drink. I was hoping for something a little heavier. But I do recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2006 03:22:18 | More by coasterfreak75
Photo of arnulfooxblood


3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle.

Appearance--nice and dark, decent tan frothy head.

Smell--notable roasted malts, faint cocoa aromas. Not bad.

Taste/Mouthfelle--Good carbonation, fairly thick mouthfeel. The flavors are not as pronounced as I would hope. Tastewise, unfortunately, I think it falls a little flat for an American Porter.

Drinkability--Goes down easy enough, but the weak taste leaves me wanting something else.

Overall--not too bad, but certainly not the best porter I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2006 20:01:12 | More by arnulfooxblood
Photo of GPHarris


4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a two fingers thick coffee-colored head into a tumbler. body is black with red hints that make look almost dark purple. nice sheeting action with sticky lace throughout.
s - light chocolate malt with a little spice to it. maybe cinnamon? as it warms caramel tones come through.
t - once again a light chocolate tone with a little caramel in the finish.
m - crisp hop bite to it and a slick mouthfeel.
d - really a nice winter brew. i may have started it out too cold because as it neared room temperature the tastes and scents really came through.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2006 14:39:34 | More by GPHarris
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 ounce standard brown glass bottle with a shoulder embossed with a brace of “Sam Adams” text sealed with a gold colored crown cap. The main label looks very similar to the one pictured on BA. ‘Holiday Porter’ is in white text set against a gold edge red sash. As with the ‘Old Fezziwig Ale’, the main label is heavily influenced by Dickensian London with all of its Victorian connotations, a tall chap seems to be delivering a wooden Cask of Holiday Porter to a Tavern. Has a nicked “APR” Brewery Fresh Date and a listed Strength of 5.9% ABV.

Appearance: Jet black body, oh but wait, no, a strong light will produce some thick mahogany flashes, claret like with a burgundy clarity. The head is massive on the pour, a thick tan colored uneven cap soon drops to leave some fantastic looking side wall lacing; a gentle swirl reveals the finely dissolved conditioning and recaptures the crusty head lacing on the glass walls and pulls them back into the body of the beer to recycle them and produce a more uniform ½”thick disc that remains with an envious longevity. Superb looks.

Nose: The malts that escape in vapor form are heavily roasted. The background is of dark chocolate. The finish is of walnuts and caramel.

Taste: Roasted malts are tempered with a toasted backdrop in the beginning. Walnut encrusted Bourneville dark chocolate fills the middle; whilst ember roasted Horse Chestnuts dryness slakes the plate. A chocolate bitterness, no doubt influenced from the Fuggles and East Kent Goldings, breaks the smoothness and leaves a very attractive defined lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Gorgeous creamy body with an above average thickness that assists in enabling the Holiday Porter to exhibit a rich smoothness.

Drinkability: My first bottle was quite literally quaffed in several mouthfuls. The second bottle afforded me some respite to analyze the Drinkability of the Holiday Porter….so yeah, it is rather quaffable…..a terrific “Session Porter” for the Holiday season. Man I love this stuff.

Overall: If I could I’d be picking this one up in Six-Packs tomorrow, hell I’d even buy a case of this terrific Session Porter!!! I’d even be tempted to pick up another Winter Classic Case…well, except for “that” beer, you know, that l….l…l..l..lam…..nah, I can’t even bring myself to say it. Note to Jim: please put four of these in next years Winter Pack and ditch the Turkey Juice.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2006 05:36:58 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Samuel Adams Holiday Porter from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 2,155 ratings.